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Will and Understanding
1. "If any man willeth to do his will, he shall know of the
teaching." Man manifests that which exists eternally in
Being. We talk about the faculties of man's mind as if they
belonged to the individual and had origin in him. Man
exists in the one invisible Mind. He may assume to have a
mind of his own, but his origin and destiny are in God-Mind.
2. Primal causes are complete, finished, absolute. All that
man manifests has its origin in a cause that we name Divine
Mind, Spirit, God. This being true in logic and intuition,
it is not a difficult matter to arrive at the conclusion
that the manifestation proves the character of the cause.
In dealing with the faculties of man, the relation between
them and the one Mind should not be lost sight of. There is
but one Mind, and that Mind cannot be separated or divided,
because, like the principle of mathematics, it is
indivisible. All that we can say of the one Mind is that it
is absolute and that all its manifestations are in essence
like itself. This brings us to the true estimate of man,
and when we speak of spiritual man, or Christ man, or the
son of God, we refer to this original expression of Divine
3. In analyzing these faculties and in establishing their
relation in the individual consciousness, we should clearly
understand that they are never separated from their
Principle, the Divine Mind. In the
text quoted above, Jesus refers to two of the powers of man
and brings out a certain phase of their relation. Will and
know designate the faculties of mind that we term will and
understanding. Through appropriation, through expansion and
growth in consciousness, will and understanding would seem
to have their source in individual man. But, however
adapted by man, they can never be divorced from the mind of
Being, in which they exist as essential members of its
4. Individual consciousness is like an eddy in the
ocean--all the elements that are found in the ocean are
also found in the eddy, and every eddy may, in due course,
receive and give forth all that is in the ocean. As the
will of God, man represents I AM identity. This is
individual consciousness, freedom to act without dictation
of any kind, selfhood without consciousness of cause, the
power to make or break without limitation, constructive and
destructive ability with a universe of workable
potentialities. The will is the man. Without absolute
freedom of will, man would be an automaton. If his will
were restricted in the least degree on any side, he would
not be perfectly free. We know that God is the Great
Unlimited, and man, His "image" and "likeness," must be of
the same character; consequently man has the same freedom
that God has to act in the fulfillment of desire. God does
not dictate man's acts, although He may instruct and draw
him through love away from error. The idea that God makes
do certain things cannot be true in a single instance,
because, if it were, man would not be a free agent. If God
interfered with man's will in some things, it would follow
that He could interfere in any and all things. Logic and
observation clearly reveal the freedom of man in everything.
5. Creative thought uses the will to build up individual
consciousness. The Lord God, or Jehovah, of Genesis, is the
original "I WILL BE THAT I WILL BE." In mind, both Jehovah
and Jesus mean I AM. I AM is man's self-identity. I AM is
the center around which man's system revolves. When the I
AM is established in a certain understanding of its
Principle, it is divinely guided in its acts, and they are
in harmony with divine law. This is the union of will and
understanding. In the Scripture these two are designated as
Ephraim and Manasseh, sons of Joseph. Their allotments in
the Promised Land were joined, indicating that these
faculties work in the body from a single brain center. The
center is in the forehead.
6. The will should never be retarded in its development,
but should be strengthened along all lines. The idea of
breaking the will of children is wholly erroneous. The
perfect man is produced by rounding out the will and
joining it to the understanding. The idea of giving up the
will to God's will should not include the thought of
weakening it, or causing it to become in any way less; it
properly means that the will is being instructed how to act
for the best. Do not act until you know how to act.
"Look before you leap." This does not imply that one should
be inactive and indefinite, waiting for understanding, as
do many persons who are afraid to act because they may
possibly do the wrong thing; it means that understanding
will be quickened and the will strengthened by the
confidence that comes as a result of knowledge.
7. To strengthen the will, and at the same time to
discipline it along right lines, requires an understanding
nothing less than divine. But man can balance his will and
his understanding; when he does this he will always do the
right thing at the right time. Nearly every mistake is the
result of will's acting without the cooperation of its
brother, understanding. When the will is permitted to act
on its own account, man becomes emotional and willful.
These states of consciousness lead to all kinds of bodily
discord. Willfullness makes tenseness, and a tense mind
ties knots in the nerves, muscles, and tendons of the whole
organism. The metaphysician, observing these conditions,
treats for relaxation of will and for a general letting go
of the whole system. The universal treatment for this
condition given by Jesus is, "Not my will, but thine, be
done." This surrender causes personal will to "let go," and
a unification of man's will with God's will takes place.
When this is accomplished, all goes well.
8. Willful persons often complain of a feeling like that
produced by a tight band around the head. This feeling
results from the pressure of thought
substance, which the will has laid hold of and is clinging
to with centripetal force. In all such cases, and, in fact,
in every sense of pressure, treat against personal
willfullness and affirm the divine freedom.
9. Every organ of the body is affected by the action of the
will, and when this faculty becomes fixed in a certain
attitude, it holds the whole body to its central
affirmation. The determination to have one's own way,
regardless of the rights of others, tends to stop the free
action of the heart; the stomach is then sympathetically
affected. Persons affected in these ways seldom realize
that they have a set determination as to how things shall
be done in their lives, and they are sometimes slow in
accepting the higher understanding that is necessary to the
untangling of mistakes made by the ignorant will.
Contrariness is another name for perverted will. An
exaggerated idea of self and its needs takes possession of
the mind, and the will is used to carry out this
shortsighted policy. The result is a belittling of the
whole man. Persons who are contentious for their personal
rights place themselves in bondage to material conditions
and stop spiritual growth.
10. How shall we bring the divine will to bear? By
understanding; by appropriating universal wisdom; by
affirming: Not my will, but thine, be done. God is
potential, unformed will; man is manifest God will, or
goodwill. When man links his will with the principle of
divine force he has superior executive capacity. He swiftly
faculties that, under the slow action of human personality,
would take ages to develop.
11. There is a knowing quality in Divine Mind. God is
supreme knowing. That in man which comprehends is
understanding; it knows and compares in wisdom. Its
comparisons are not made in the realm of form, but in the
realm of ideas. It knows how to accomplish things. We may
know without experience. The human family has learned by
hard knocks that experience is a severe schoolmaster. In
the allegory of Adam and Eve, we see a picture of man's
falling under the sway of sensation (serpent) and having to
learn by experience. One of the esoteric meanings of
serpent is "experience." All the bitter lessons that come
through blundering ignorance can be evaded when men declare
their divine understanding and in it follow the divine
12. For all willfullness, the healing treatment should be
affirmations of spiritual understanding. The will is not to
be broken, but disciplined. The absolute freedom of the
individual must be maintained at all hazards. God is the
one principle; we are all as free to use God as we are free
to use the principles of mathematics or of music. The
principle never interferes, but if it is to be rightly
applied we must develop understanding. Freedom leads to
many errors, but, since it is a part of Being, man must
learn to use it properly; he must learn that the freedom of
the law means control and conservation, not lust and
13. We should be careful not to enter into any healing
system that interferes with freedom. Hypnotism is not real
healing. Any system that suppresses the will is radically
wrong. It is the work of the true healer to instruct the
patient, to show cause and remedy from the viewpoint of
spiritual understanding. All other methods are temporary.
The old states of mind will come again into action unless
the causing thought is uncovered and removed. A man may
have a paralyzed arm through selfish desire for money, and
though he may find temporary relief in mere mental
suggestions of health, or hypnotism, he will never get
permanent healing until he understands the divine law
governing possessions, and conforms thereto.
14. There are people who claim that they are being
spiritually developed through mediumship. This is error. If
you believe that you are under the control of another's
will, if you give up to another will, your own will is
gradually weakened. If you continue to submit to the
domination of another, you will finally lose control of
your own life. The will must be strengthened by being
constantly used in divine understanding. Mesmerism weakens
the will. Spiritual understanding quickens and makes alive.
God never puts anyone to sleep. "Awake, thou that sleepest
. . . and Christ shall shine upon thee."
15. Never say, "I don't know," "I don't understand." Claim
your Christ understanding at all times, and declare: I am
not under any spell of human
ignorance. I am one with infinite understanding. The
accumulation of ignorance gathered through association with
ignorant minds can be dissolved by using the word. You may
know by simply holding the thought that you know. This is
not egotism, but spiritual knowing. When you declare divine
understanding, you sometimes meet your old line of thought
and are disappointed. Right then continue to hold to your
declaration for knowing. Judge not by appearances. Do not
act until you get the assurance; if you keep close to
Spirit by affirmation, the assurance will come. Will it
come by voice? No! You will know through the faculty of
intuition. Divine knowing is direct fusion of mind of God
with mind of man. Sometimes we are taught by symbols,
visions, and the like, but this is only one of the ways
that Divine Mind has of expressing itself. When the mind
deals with God ideals it asks for no symbols, visible or
invisible, but rests on pure knowing. It was in this
consciousness that Jesus said: "Father, I thank thee that
thou heardest me. And I knew that thou hearest me always."
16. A very practical application of the truth about the
will can be made in the matter of self-control. Those who
try to get control through suppressing the personal will
fall short. We should be free to express all that we are.
If you are afraid of any force within you, your fear leads
to suppression. In the true self-control, the will and the
understanding both play a part. The feelings and appetites
passions must be disciplined. They are not merely to be
held in check by the will, but they are to be lifted up and
developed through the Christ Mind.
17. The problem of self-control is never settled until all
that man is comes into touch with the divine will and
understanding. You must understand all your forces before
you can establish them in harmony. This overcoming is easy
if you go about it in the right way. But if you try to take
dominion through will, force, and suppression, you will
find it hard and will never accomplish any permanent
results. Get your I AM centered in God, and from that place
of Truth speak true words. In this way you will gain real
spiritual mastery and raise your will consciousness from
the human to the divine.
18. The will plays the leading part in all systems of
thought concentration. The simple statement, I will to be
well, gathers the forces of mind and body about the central
idea of wholeness, and the will holds the center just so
long as the I AM continues its affirmation. No one ever
died until he let go his will to live, and thousands live
on and on through the force of a determined will.
19. The "devil" that we are to overcome is the adverse
will, which seeks to master man in the without. This
"adversary" troubles us because we strive to maintain
personal freedom instead of submitting to divine guidance.
Self-confidence is a virtue when founded on the Truth of
Being, but when it arises from the personal consciousness
it keeps man from
his dominion. Are you trying just from yourself to be free
from the traditions of the outer world, or are you resting
in the understanding and assurance that you are a son of
God? To know yourself as a son of God is to overcome the
"devil"--the personal self. The "devil" makes you believe
that you are the son of the flesh. To overcome, say: I put
Satan behind me by the realization that God is my Father. I
am centered in Him, and all things are under His dominion.
I live in the infinite Power that produces all
self-control. I have no necessity for controlling people.
Events and people are controlled by divine law. There is an
eternal law of justice. I am one with that law and I rest
20. Among the apostles of Jesus, Matthew represents the
will, and Thomas the understanding. Matthew was the
taxgatherer who sat at the gate, representing the executive
part of the government; so the will is the executive
faculty of the mind and carries out the edicts of the I AM.
All thoughts that go into or out of man's consciousness
pass the gate at which sits the will, and if the will
understands its office, the character and the value of
every thought are inquired into and a certain tribute is
exacted for the benefit of the whole man.
21. Thomas, the understanding, is represented as under
discipline; that is, not yet in the light of Spirit. The
understanding, in its first steps in Truth, wants its
lessons and accompanying demonstrations to be couched in
terms like those used in the outer
world. When Jesus showed Himself to Thomas, the latter said
that he would not believe unless he could see the prints of
the nails and feel the wound in the side of the Lord. This
double proof was given him, and Jesus said: "Be not
faithless, but believing." Thomas was then spiritually
awakened and he made the acknowledgment: "My Lord and my
22. The people who are being educated in Truth through the
written and the spoken word will finally arrive at that
place where the true light from Spirit will dawn upon them,
and they will, like Thomas, see with spiritual
understanding and have proof of the reality of the Christ
The Establishment Of Will And Understanding
(To be used in connection with Lesson Ten)
1. My understanding is established in Divine Mind.
2. "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you
3. The will of God is ever uppermost in my consciousness.
4. "Not my will, but thine, be done."
5. I firmly believe the guiding Intelligence that directs
all my thoughts.
6. "There is a spirit in man, and the breath of the
Almighty giveth them understanding."
7. The willfullness and stubborness of the flesh have no
power in me. I am obedient to Spirit and receptive to all
its secret thoughts.
8. "Not . . . of the will of flesh, nor of the will of man,
but of God."
9. I am willing to change my mind.
10. "Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind."
11. The Christ of God is born in my consciousness, and I am
glorified in my understanding.
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